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UNLV’s Desiree Reed-Francois appears to be a lead candidate at UCLA

Updated May 8, 2020 - 3:16 pm

UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois is believed to be a leading candidate for the same position at UCLA, a person close to the situation said Friday. But another person familiar with the situation said it is believed the final interviews have not taken place.

The San Jose Mercury News, attributing several unnamed sources, on Friday first reported that Reed-Francois, who was on the UCLA club rowing team, was a top candidate at her alma mater “if not the preferred candidate.”

The Mercury News story also named Virginia’s Carla Williams and Auburn’s Allen Greene as candidates but did not confirm either as a finalist.

Reed-Francois did not respond to a request for comment. Current UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero will retire July 1 after nearly 20 years in that post.

If Reed-Francois, 48, were to be offered and accept the UCLA job, she would inherit an athletic department with a $40 million deficit, but The Mercury News reported the university has issued a loan to cover the shortfall.

Reed-Francois has a personal connection with Bruins men’s basketball coach Mick Cronin. She was the senior associate athletic director and then interim AD at Cincinnati from March 2013 to June 2014 while Cronin was the coach there and the two became good friends. UNLV is scheduled to play UCLA on Nov. 17 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

At UNLV, Reed-Francois made changes in both major revenue-producing sports. She fired men’s basketball coach Marvin Menzies in March 2019 and replaced him with T.J. Otzelberger. This past November, she parted ways with football coach Tony Sanchez and hired Marcus Arroyo.

Reed-Francois has been at UNLV since June 2017 after serving as Virginia Tech’s deputy athletic director.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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